Does Pharmacy Tech Count As Clinical Hours? Med School, PA School, Pharmacy School

If you want to become a medical doctor, physician assistant (PA), pharmacist, or another advanced healthcare provider, you typically need some experience working in a more entry-level healthcare job first. 

Most advanced healthcare schools require their students to have at least some clinical hours to be accepted into a program. Having some clinical experience gives students a head start on their learning, gets them used to medical terminology and hospital environments, and gives them an opportunity to practice interacting with real patients. 

You may be wondering if working as a pharmacy tech counts as clinical experience for these types of schools. 

Typically, medical schools and PA schools do not count pharmacy technician work as clinical experience. Pharmacist programs do count pharmacy technician experience, but they typically have fewer clinical experience requirements, if any.

This guide goes over what counts as clinical experience for med school, PA school, and pharmacy school, how to get experience, and more. 

Does Working as a Pharmacy Tech Count as Clinical Experience for Med School?

Medical schools typically do not count pharmacy technician work toward the clinical experience requirements for admission into their programs. 

There may be exceptions for pharmacy technicians working in hospitals, but you’ll have to check with the schools you’re interested in to find out for sure. It’s worth calling them to get more details about what counts and what does not. 

Here are some jobs that do count as clinical experience for med school:

  • Medical Assistant. Medical assistants often work in doctors’ offices and measure vital signs, assist with minor procedures, and document medical care. Their experience working alongside a physician is great for medical school applications. You can become a medical assistant by completing an online training program in as little as 12 weeks. 
  • Phlebotomist. Phlebotomists typically work in hospitals or clinical laboratories. They collect blood samples using aseptic technique and must know how to safely collect and store blood to be tested. Some phlebotomists can also perform arterial blood draws in acute care settings. There are many online and in-person training programs available for phlebotomists. 
  • Licensed Practical Nurse. A licensed practical nurse can administer medications in hospitals, long-term care centers, or outpatient centers. They can also measure vital signs and perform tasks such as placing feeding tubes and changing bandages. To become an LPN, you must complete an LPN program and pass the NCLEX-PN licensing exam. 
  • Certified Nuring Assistant. Certified nursing assistants work with LPNs and RNs to provide care for patients in hospitals, long-term care centers, home health care, and other settings. Nursing assistants typically help patients perform activities of daily living, such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. 
  • Emergency Medical Technician. Emergency medical technicians are trained to respond to emergencies and crisis situations in the field, often working as part of an ambulance or firefighting team. They have to be trained in basic life support and usually need 8 to 12 weeks of training before being allowed to start working. 

Does Working as a Pharmacy Tech Count as Clinical Experience for PA School?

Similarly to med school, PA schools are unlikely to count pharmacy technician experience toward the clinical hours required on their application. Again, only the school you hope to attend can give you specific information, but for most schools, the answer is no. 

The same jobs that count towards medical school clinical experience are counted for PA school. In addition, you may consider getting experience as a paramedic, respiratory therapist, physical therapy aide, or registered nurse. 

You can learn about the best jobs to get clinical experience for PA school here.

Does Working as a Pharmacy Tech Count as Clinical Experience for Pharmacy School?

If you want to become a pharmacist, you will have to earn your doctorate in pharmacy. Because pharmacists spend less time working directly with patients, most pharmacy schools do not typically require their students to have any clinical experience before applying. 

However, if you plan to apply to a competitive pharmacy school, having experience as a pharmacy technician may help. Working as a pharmacy technician gives you exposure to many common medications, dosages, and their side effects. 

Having some prior medication knowledge and experience working with customers in a pharmacy or hospital will give you a huge advantage over others when applying to pharmacy school. 

If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacy tech, check out our 4-month online program that prepares you to take your certification exam and start working.

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